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This book assembles essays on legal sociology and legal history by an international group of distinguished scholars. All of them have been influenced by the eminent and prolific legal historian, legal sociologist and scholar of comparative law, Lawrence M. Friedman. Not just a Festschrift of essays by colleagues and disciples, this volume presents a sustained examination and application of Friedman's ideas and methods. Together, the essays in this volume show the powerful ripple effects of Friedman's work on American and comparative legal sociology, American and comparative legal history and the general sociology of law and legal change.
The chapters in this volume approach and bounce off a common object from many different angles. That object is the set of concepts, themes, methods, and conclusions in the work of one of the most influential and productive scholars of law and society, Lawrence M. Friedman of Stanford University. The authors are an international cast of distinguished scholars of law and society: legal sociologists, legal historians, and students of comparative law. This book is not a Festschrift in the usual sense of a collection of miscellaneous essays by colleagues and disciplines assembled to honor a great scholar. Rather it is a sustained examination and application of the scholar's ideas and methods. Some of the writers directly assess and comment on Friedman's vast body of work. Some examine his conclusions to see how well they have stood up over time. Others apply concepts and insights derived from Friedman's work to the study of similar problems in different periods and societies. Still others use Friedman's concepts and insights as a foil or contrast to their own approaches to studying law and society from theoretical perspectives very different from his.
We should say a few words first about the extraordinary man whose ideas and their applications are the centerpiece of this volume. Lawrence M. Friedman was born in Chicago in 1930. He received a B.A. at the age of 18, a J.D. at 21, and an LL.M. at age 23, all from the University of Chicago.